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It pays to do research before negotiating a divorce settlement

Thinking of all of the issues that need to be resolved before a divorce can be finalized might overwhelm California residents who are at the beginning of the process. This can cause some people to rush through the process without doing their homework first. It pays to do the research before negotiating a divorce settlement.

The divorce process has been known to turn someone who is ordinarily trustworthy into someone who is secretive and mischievous. Therefore, it is up to each party to gather and/or request all financial and asset-related information that might be in the possession of the other party. It is not necessary -- or advisable -- to simply take the other party's word when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce.

This does not mean that everyone involved in a California divorce will attempt to hide assets or "pull one over" on the other party, but it is still better to be safe than sorry. Once all of the pertinent documentation is gathered, it then needs to be analyzed. This might require some assets to be valued by a third party in order to ascertain their true values. Even if two assets appear to have the same monetary value, that does not always translate into their true values to the parties. For example, a house comes with taxes, insurance and maintenance costs that will lower its actual value in a divorce.

Failing to conduct any research into the assets and debts that comprise the marital estate could end up costing one or both parties in the long run. No one likes to feel as though he or she does not understand what is at stake -- especially when it affects not only his or her future but also the futures of any children. An understanding of what needs to be done during negotiations often results in a divorce settlement with which both parties can be satisfied.

Source: The Huffington Post, "10 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Divorce", Karen Covy, Feb. 8, 2016

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